I have said this before indirectly in my “Scholarship Hunting” and “Types of Scholarships” articles. But today I will say this explicitly: COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES AREN’T THE ONLY PROVIDERS OF SCHOLARSHIPS.
There are several people I went to college with who gotten better academic university scholarships than I did and still graduated with debt. How did this happen? They didn’t get their scholarships from more than one source.
By “source” I mean a company or organization that will write the check for your scholarship. Outside of colleges and universities, there are companies, nonprofits, special interest groups, social clubs, professional societies, churches, government agencies, and other organizations that will provide scholarships to students. You just have to find them.
Why is this important? Why should you get multiple scholarships from multiple sources?
Why not? It’s free money. If your scholarship money is greater than your tuition, fees, room & board, etc. the school will refund you. You get money that can be used for food, entertainment, money to do laundry, emergency expenses, and whatever you want to use it for.
Also college tuition increases every year, which means you need to be increasing the scholarships you receive every year if you don’t want to go in debt.
In addition, there can be restrictions on the scholarships you receive from colleges/universities. For example, you may qualify for two scholarships but you can only receive one. That’s called non-stackable scholarships.
Lastly, there is no such thing as a “full ride scholarship” anymore. You can find scholarships that pay for tuition or a large amount of your expenses, but that’s it. And those scholarships are fixed amounts. If tuition goes up, your scholarship does not.
Be diligent in your scholarship search. Don’t just get one scholarship and say I’m done. Keep looking until you can’t find anymore. Or until you got enough to pay for all your college expenses.